Larger vans and minibuses will have until the end of next year to comply with Low Emission Zone standards under a revised start date for the next phase announced by Transport for London today.
Following a statutory public consultation held earlier this year, Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that the vehicles must comply with LEZ standards from 3rd January 2012.
The Mayor had previously angered health and environmental campaigners by delaying the original implementation of the Zone’s third phase which was scheduled for October this year.
Earlier this year the EU Environment Commissioner threatened the UK with fines after London exceeded the limits for dangerous airborne particles known as PM10.
In a statement issued by TfL Mayor Johnson’s Transport advisor Kulveer Ranger said: “The Mayor is committed to making London the best big city in the world and therefore we must tackle the crucial issue of cutting pollution. This is why he is keen to put in place measures to dramatically improve London’s air quality.”
Nick Fairholme, Acting Director of Congestion Charging and Traffic Enforcement, said: “The move to January 2012 gives operators an extra 15 months to take their planned course of action to ensure they meet the new standards. TfL is working with operators and owners to make sure their vehicles meet the emission standards rather than pay the daily charge. Including these vehicles in the Low Emission Zone will deliver a significant improvement to the polluting emissions from vans and minibuses and forms part of a broader package of measures to further clean up the capital’s air.”
Responding to today’s announcement, Liberal Democract London Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey said: “The Mayor’s confidence that the limits for small particles can be met – two years late – is seriously misplaced.
“It would be much better to focus on immediate action where the ill healh problems from air pollution are greatest, namely central and inner London.”
There were criticism too from Green Party AM Darren Johnson who accused the Mayor of “dismantling a package of measures designed to cut air pollution in a systematic way and replacing those policies with a set of last ditch, emergency measures, including diversions and road closures.”
Mr Johnson added: “Allowing vehicles to carry on polluting, is clearly bad for Londoners’ health. However, the Mayor also has to justify abandoning action against polluting light vans to the European Commission, as it was recently included in the UK Government’s plan for action to improve air quality. The Mayor’s backward steps on air pollution may not only damage Londoners’ health but land the Government in court over its failure to meet minimum air quality standards.”